Yesterday we posted Top Gear’s segment of Clarkson’s Tesla Roadster test drive. From what started out as Clarkson falling in love with not only an electric-car – but an American made electric-car (yes, at that point we felt like hell froze over), fell apart later on in the segment when Clarkson claimed that his Tesla’s battery depleted after 55 miles of driving.

At that point we thought that was probably because of the way Clarkson was whipping the Tesla Roadster around the Top Gear track – but even then that’s a bit unbelievable since Tesla claims that its Roadster gets 244 miles on a single charge.

Of course, then there were claims of the brakes failing and the argument of the outstanding price tag of over $100,000.

Well, lucky for us Rachel Konrad, Senior Communications Manager at Tesla Motors, saw the post and decided to use our comments section to clear up some of Clarkson’s claims.

You can read her comment after the jump.

For the record: Thanks to The Stig”s impressive turn behind the wheel, the Tesla Roadster gets a higher ranking in Top Gear”s performance board than a Porsche 911 GT3. Jeremy Clarkson, a die-hard “petrol head” with a clear bias against green cars generally, said that it must be “snowing in hell” because he had such a great time driving the Roadster and now considers himself a “volt head” thanks to the Roadster”s amazing performance. This is amazingly high praise from Clarkson, whose entire schtick is to savage even his most beloved petrol-guzzling sports cars.

However, I would like to clarify a couple things. Never at any time did Clarkson or any of the Top Gear drivers run out of charge. In fact, they never got below 20 percent charge in either car; they never had to push a car off the track because of lack of charge or a fault. (It”s unclear why they were pushing one into a garage in the video; I”ll refrain from speculating about their motives and their acting ability.)

The “brake failure” Clarkson mentions was solely a blown fuse; a service technician replaced the Roadster”s pump and it was back up and running immediately. They were never without a car, and the Top Gear testing did not put the Roadster”s reliability or safety in question whatsoever. Again, I’m going to leave out comments as to why the good folks at Top Gear might have mischaracterized the blown fuse as a brake failure, which is was decidedly not.

I am also unclear as to why Clarkson said it took 16 hours to recharge the Roadster without qualifying that statement at all. The vast majority of people who have taken delivery of their Roadsters (and there are more than 100 of them now) have much faster systems that recharge from dead to full in as little as 3.5 hours. However, I really enjoyed and heartily endorse Clarkson”s suggestion that, if people want to race Roadsters 24-7, they should simply buy two. ;)

If anyone continued watching the show until the end, you no doubt also saw the show’s astoundingly uninformed coverage of Honda’s hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which cannot be purchased at all but rather leased for $600 per month in Southern California to 200 pre-qualified customers in the next three years. Clarkson rips on the Roadster for being three times the price of a Lotus Elise — yet I find it odd that the humble advocates for everyman at Top Gear never even mention the price of the Clarity, which is about five times the cost of a Roadster, according to industry analysts. (Honda refuses to divulge the price of the Clarity, but its previous FCX, first delivered in 2002, cost about $1 million each to produce, and executives have coyly indicated that the new ones are about half the cost of the old ones.)

A conspicuous omission, me thinks. Let the readers beware.

Rachel Konrad
Senior Communications Manager
Tesla Motors Inc.

Tesla Roadster:

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  • shamsul yunos

    if the fuse stopped the brakes from functioning, the net effect is ….brake failure

    Clarkson did say that the charge time is 16 hours if you feed the car through a 13-amp plug… i don't know whether using a 15-amp plug makes much of a difference

    Maybe Honda paid for the segment,, after all Mercedes has had a hydrogen fuel cell car programme longer than Honda and the A-Class F-Cell is a far superior car in terms of packaging and quality

    but both are super expensive

  • HMMM

    I wonder if Ms.Konrad was on the track as they were filming and pushing the car into the service bay?

    Also 233 miles on a single charge, does it pertains to driving normally at normal speeds..or can the 233 miles be applied to top speed and abusive driving that anyone under normal conditions wouldn't be able to do so? Afterall, this is a track racing and they have been pushing the car to its limits 13000- 14000 rpm?!

    If i were to compare the electric Tesla to a mobile phone or camera which uses the same type of batteries. There are real world differences in terms of how long the charge can stay up. 3 hours of Continuous Talk time, 1.5 hours or so of 3.5G Video Call to a standby of 10 days.

    If those ratios were to apply on the 233 Miles range, then I suppose Clarkson's claim of 50 something miles of nonstop top speed top rpm fun would be correct in real life situations (if u were to compare it to how a cell phone drains the battery)?

    Something to think about.

  • cal

    Even a Prius only got 14mph on their track, that isn't a surprise that the battery of Tesla Roadster can only last 55 miles. And no matter what's the reason of the brake failure, it is still a brake failure which is fatal, yes a blown fuse can cost lifes, what if one of your 100 customers drives his car out on the street and a little fuse blown suddenly which cause brake failure? That's Top Gear, they won't just keep praising the car they tested, they will tell the audience if they found any downsides. Two seasons ago they tested the Euro ver. Honda Civic Type R and even said that is absolutely a piece of rubbish. Please keep in mind that they are doing a road test but not an ad for Tesla, however we totally understand that why you are trying to cover (or “clear”) up all the bad things they said about Tesla Roadster. Anyway that would be great if you guys can listen to what they said and improve the car instead of pissing off like a kid. Also I can't see they are advertising the FCX (which is what you said, not in production yet) but a factual documentry that try to give an idea to the audience of the future of the world especially auto industry as what Honda make is absolutely revolutionary. They have stated the price to fill up the tank of the FCX is acutally almost the same as gasoline but to recharge the battery of Tesla Roadster is only 3.5pounds, does it make you guys happier?

    Think about it.

  • Bobmarley

    im pretty sure the 244 miles on a single charge is based on everyday normal driving. It does make sense that the car only lasted 55miles since Clarkson was never driving at normal street speeds and acceleration. He was driving the Tesla to its extreme the whole time doing speed runs and redlining it around the track. I guess what weve learned from this is that they need to have more range tests ie city/hwy and maybe track/racing?

    anyone see the super car race with 1 gal of gas? Almost every car got around 1mpg! …even though their rated at 8-12mpg's…..oh and cal mentioned the prius track test getting only 14mpg's

  • HMMM

    I believe they were comparing the price tag to the Lotus was due to the fact that the Tesla is based on the Elise?!

    It makes sense to compare the two, since one is a gasoline variant and the other..pure charge. I don't see what the fuzz is about the mention of FCX( Clarity). The point is, there is a price to pay if you want the latest technologies. I think the readers here can figure that out on their own without and prejudices.

  • johnny

    Maybe if Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk wasn't such an cocky ass they'd be able to build good, quality car. That thing can't even corner decently, much less go more than 100 miles.

  • johnny

    Maybe if Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk wasn't such an cocky ass they'd be able to build good, quality car. That thing can't even corner decently, much less go more than 100 miles.